British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind reportedly warned yesterday that China's lack of understanding of a market economy may hinder Hong Kong's smooth handover. Mr Rifkind made an unscheduled stopover at Kai Tak on his way to Japan, where he was said to have made the remarks in talks with Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. British officials said Mr Hashimoto asked Mr Rifkind for an update on progress on the handover, indicating the importance Japan attached to a smooth transition. Japanese press quoted Mr Rifkind as saying he did not think China would intentionally cause confusion in Hong Kong but hitches in the transition could not be ruled out because China did not understand how free economies work. Mr Hashimoto was said to have told the Foreign Secretary, who is on a nine-day Asian tour, that Hong Kong should act as a 'display window' helping outsiders better understand China. Mr Rifkind's Royal Air Force VC-10 was scheduled to fly to Tokyo from the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo with only a single fuelling stop in Bangkok. But after taking off from Bangkok, air traffic controllers in the region routed the plane on a path that might have left the VC-10 low on fuel if it had continued straight on to Tokyo. It put down at Kai Tak for more fuel.